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#73887 - 04/15/04 05:26 PM Re: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
viva
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/06/03
Posts: 959
Loc: Houston TX

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I think if you compare the suffering of developed nations like the US and the suffering of third world countries like India, they don't even *begin* to compare. Take an Indian national from a slum that's a series of blue tarps held up with sticks next to a dirty river where people bathe, drink, and eliminate in the same cholera-infected water to the American ghetto, and the Indian will think it's a series of palaces. I have never been more physically shocked and horrified by poverty than when I have been in India.

Also, what happens when we try to protect "us" vs. "them"? Brazil, for example, has a very protectionist and isolationist economy - you really can't export services outside of Brazil, there are so many labor laws designed to "protect" the Brazilian laborer, so many regulations to regulate treasury functions and cash flows and imports that outside corporations do not invest and do not want to grow Brazil as a market. The result is a troubled economy, 20% unemployment, and ever-expanding favelas. I know that is over-simplifying, and I don't mean to slam Brazil, because it is a beautiful country with radiant people and rich natural resources, but the question to ask is whether Brazil is really "protecting" its people with protectionist and isolationist policies, or whether it is hurting them in the long run.

This was my very roundabout way of heartily agreeing with sunflow that we live in a global economy and, if we are thinking with our pocketbooks, that the most rational answer for the US taxpayer is to make sure that poorer countries are developing markets for our goods, that they have good health and infrastructure so they don't need our foreign aid for the rest of eternity, and that they have (in an effort to stay on topic) access to health and reproductive education so that they can begin to control their population growth, the spread of diseases and the resulting poverty that requires such a significant amount of aid from developing nations in the first place.

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#73888 - 04/15/04 08:59 PM Re: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
Catness Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

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 Quote:
Originally posted by tygrkatt:
See this is where things get touchy for me. It sometimes seems that our government is turning it's back on *us*. While on one hand I agree that we should do what we can, on the other hand is the Catch-22 that the more you give, the more is asked of you. It just seems like we give and give and give, while our people suffer.
Yes, absolutely our government has turned its back on the poorest of the poor here in our own country. Why? Because we told them to. Because we let them. How? Two words:

Welfare Reform

There was a systematic and racist decades long media and political campaign depicting the Welfare Queen cheating the government out of funds and teaching her children to continue the tradition. The American public believed it and supported the reforms. "Well my goodness! No, of course I don't want someone on public assistance buying steak or driving a Cadillac. That's better than I'm doing, and I work hard. It's not fair!" Nevermind that these examples were extreme cases of actual criminals, if not outright fabrications. Certainly not an objective and representative sampling of the real welfare demographics.

This is a women's rights issue, since it was poor women who were targetted by this misinformation, and who are still facing more and more restrictions and less and less support.

[generalization alert] Additionally, it has been my experience that Americans are less sympathetic to other Americans when it comes to hardship. We're Americans, we're supposed to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps! Work hard! Hardship is the American Way of Life -- we carved this country out of solid granite! I experienced a lot of this as a kid. When people found out that my mom and I were on welfare, there was a lot of stigma attached to it. Even kids my own age asked if my mom was "lazy" or "why doesn't she just get a better job?" Mom was so ashamed of being on welfare and using food stamps that she sent me to the grocery store to do the shopping. [end gross generalization and anecdotal evidence]

That was 30-odd years ago, and it's only gotten worse for welfare moms. Even though I now make twice as much or more than my mother made in any given year of my childhood, I cannot imagine trying to raise a kid on my income.

Don't even get me started on what we've done to our rural American population.

Finally, if we can spend trillions upon trillions of dollars on weapons and bombing some country back to the Stone Age -- whether or not I support that my taxes pay for it -- the very least some of my other tax dollars can do is then go toward rebuilding or saving someone's life. Here or there.

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#73889 - 04/16/04 05:10 AM Re: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
Decca the Red
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/03/03
Posts: 89

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viva while I agree with the point you're making, I believe a country's economic policy and a country's aid policy should serve very different purposes. Although if I replied I'd be going very off-topic, is there a topic for discussion of the effects of neo-liberal economics and structural adjustment programmes?

Otherwise what Catness said. Tygkratt you seem to think that the money that has been cut to programmes providing sex education information is now going to programmes to say sex education in America, why do you think this is true?

I can understand being sceptical of much of America's aid budget, but I can't understand seeing supporting this order as achieving anything but screwing over those who are fighting for women's rights.

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#73890 - 04/20/04 08:34 AM Re: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
VegetarianOnHiatus
Ching Shih


Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 1089
Loc: Somerville, MA, USA

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I'm not sure if this is the right place for this, but is anyone else going to the women's reproductive freedom march in Washington this weekend? I'm going, and I'm totally excited about it!
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#73891 - 04/21/04 07:38 AM Re: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
Decca the Red
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/03/03
Posts: 89

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Well I'm not (the being-in-New-Zealand-ness hinders that a little), but my boyfriend Bradley Whitford is (I stopped watching The West Wing, but my crush, and ability to bring it at completely random points in the conversation never dies). Guys who fight as hard as he does for women's rights makes me feel very optimistic, plus it's really sexy.
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#73892 - 04/21/04 05:22 PM Re: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
Meghan
Ching Shih


Registered: 01/30/02
Posts: 116
Loc: New York, New York

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Oh, I wish I could go to that! The clubs at NYU that are involved with women's rights are sending buses, so technically I could go, but I have so much school work that it's just not feasible. I know so many people who would like to go but can't because it's the week before our finals. Still, I'm always excited when I hear that people are going because it's such a great thing to be so involved. Good luck!
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#73893 - 04/22/04 09:58 AM Re: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
Catness Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 1863
Loc: Chicago, Illinois

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Dr Rivka, of Respectful of Otters has had two very good entries (well, actually, she's always good) on Wal*Mart , its lack of paying a living wage to and health care coverage for its workers and its desire to provide more and more profit to its shareholders at the expense of those same workers.

 Quote:
From the first essay: And you don't want Walmart's $8 billion profits and 21.6% return on shareholder's equity to drop, the way it probably would if the public weren't picking up the cost of keeping Wal-Mart associates and their children alive. You wouldn't want any members of the Walton family to drop off the list of the richest people in the world. (Imagine if only four of them were in the top ten.)
 Quote:
The second (today's) post: Predictably, lots of people argued that Wal-Mart would inevitably have to either cut staffing or raise prices in order to provide adequate health coverage to its employees. None of the folks on the pro-Wal-Mart side seemed willing to consider the possibility of shareholders accepting reduced profits in order to provide employees with adequate salaries and benefits. It turns out that people who are quick to scorn the idea that corporations have any moral obligations to their employees are simultaneously very protective of the moral obligation corporations have to maximize shareholder value. (Check out this criticism of Costco, which does pay a living wage, from Deutsche Bank analyst Bill Dreher: "Costco continues to be a company that is better at serving the club member and employee than the shareholder." I think I'll talk about Costco in a separate post.)
Certainly, check out the comments on both entries, which add more dimension to the conversation.

Paying attention to Wal*Mart and how it treats its employees is important for all of us -- they exert enormous influence in the business world. Think that "review" and "revision" of the overtime pay rules by the Federal government won't have an effect on you? Think again . Mr Catness works over 40 hours per week, and even with overtime pay, he still makes a miniscule amount of money. Oh, yeah, he also is not eligible for benefits (no sick days, no health or dental, no vacation days) because he's considered a "part-time" employee.

A co-worker's son works for Costco, she told me yesterday that Costco just paid for a big analysis of their employee perks which has all of the employees nervous about losing them.

I am so sick of hearing about shareholder value that I want to kick something. Or someone. It's "shareholder value" which has made health care into the heartless, profit-driven business it is today.

Which brings me back to the beginning of my links. Health care and those who can't get it in this incredibly wealthy country.

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#73894 - 04/22/04 11:35 AM Re: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
sunflow
Ching Shih


Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 1156
Loc: Brighton, UK

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Awesome links, Catness. I needed a little pissed-off indignation with my morning coffee.

What floors me, over and over again, is that the people who explain away Wal-mart's abysmal health care policies as the right of a free-market corporation are the same ones who freak out when their tax dollars go to free health clinics. So, either they're incapable of figuring out how Wal-mart's employees get any health care, or they honestly think those employees don't deserve it. Either way, it makes my head hurt and my left foot draw back with that same need to kick something.

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#73895 - 04/22/04 01:03 PM Re: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

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And that is exactly why I don't shop at Walmart. I never have, I never will. Not only do I deplore their employment policies and consider them to be unethical, immoral, and wrong, but I will not support a company that forces any competition out of business and then uses their sick fake pseudo-pious religious "morals" to decide what will and won't be offered for sale in that market.

I can't pretend that I have the right to tell a business what they can and can't carry, but I do have the right not to give them any of my custom. And I'm lucky that I live in a place where I have other options. I don't shop at KMart either.

Isn't Walmart the same company that hires illegal workers every year and then, before bonuses and raises are due, calls the INS on themselves so the workers get deported? Apparently it's cheaper to pay the fines to the government than it is to follow fair hiring and employment practices.

How does this tie back to women's rights? Well, in my experience most of the people who work low paying service jobs like this are women and teenagers. If a single mother can't get a fair wage for her work, or any kind of benefits, how can she provide for her family? She can't. And a married couple working minimum wage jobs can't either. Nor will there be any way of affording birth control to prevent a huge family to cause further strain on available resources. Oh no, poor people are supposed to abstain the only free pleasure they might have in their lives if they want to limit the number of children they have.

Ria, I'm keeping an eye out for further news on the girl but if you hear something, please post.

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#73896 - 04/22/04 02:09 PM Re: Women's Rights Are Human Rights
Ria
Ching Shih


Registered: 11/01/01
Posts: 497
Loc: Massachusetts, USA

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FishDreamer, that happened over a year ago. Catness resurrected the thread to re-direct things that were going off-topic elsewhere.
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